Kipon EOS – MFT AF Review: New Adapter Fails the Test

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Excitement quickly replaced disappointment a few days ago as I tested the eagerly anticipated Kipon EOS to Micro Four Thirds adapter that promised us fast autofocus performance with Canon lenses on MFT cameras.

I had ordered my copy from China on eBay and got it in the mail Saturday morning. A little later, I mounted my Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II via the adapter on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and headed out to the Hudson to give it a shot. Since the MFT system has plenty of good short glass, what I really want is to be able to use Canon’s long lenses on my MFT cameras.

At first, things looked okay. Focus wasn’t stellar, but it was acceptable at 400mm with the camera set at single AF and the large or small center point used.

Weird

But quickly weird things started happening:

  • the connection would get lost between shots, even though I made sure never to hold the combo by the camera only, so there was never undue pressure on the camera, adapter or lens mounts; this would be solved by turning the camera off and on or by dismounting and remounting the lens-adapter combo;
  • focus worked at 100mm and at 400mm, but things got wonky – very wonky – in the middle with the image dancing in the viewfinder as the stabilization system started acting up (I assume), the image getting dark and aperture jumping to f/32 or higher with warnings the ISO was too low; this happened every time I turned the zoom away from 100mm or from 400mm;
  • it didn’t happen on the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I also tried, but with that lens I couldn’t focus at all in some cases; on location, after turning the camera on and off, dismounting and remounting all components, AF refused to focus; back home, it worked again, for no apparent reason;
  • when the AF worked, it was okay in single AF mode, but continuous AF was basically unusable, as the camera could never decide what to focus on, even when trying to focus on stationary objects against a clean background.

Turning the stabilization off on the lenses didn’t make a difference. Changing to more focus points didn’t make a difference either.

In Lightroom, the metadata read sometimes wrong as well. A shot at 400mm, reads E-M1 + 15mm (EF to M43 100-400mm F4.5-5.6). Not really a biggie, but it tells us something is not communicating correctly with this adapter.

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400mm

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100mm

Don’t think that the fact that I published four sharp images here warrants buying this adapter. Those images were all shot in single AF mode at either 100mm or 400mm. I have way more unfocused shots in my files and many times the camera couldn’t take a picture because the adapter stopped communicating with the lenses or turned everything into mush.

Company Feedback

I hesitated with publishing this short review. I had really hoped that this adapter worked. My previous experience with Kipon has been good. There was also the chance that I had a faulty unit.

So, I contacted Kipon in the US and in China to get feedback and to request a loaner, so I could test it again without investing more money into a possibly faulty product.

Kipon USA, which doesn’t list a phone number or email address on its site, didn’t respond to three attempts for feedback via its website contact form.

Kipon China sent back a scary reply, which includes the following quote: “it’s impossible to use 100% all Canon EF mount lens with this adapter, those non-mainstream EF lens are not fit this adapter, it does not fit your lens even if we send you another adapter.”

Mind you, I had by this time sent them the first draft of this article. It clearly states the lenses I used. If those aren’t mainstream lenses, I don’t know which lenses are.

My adapter is already on its way back to the eBay seller for a refund, so I cannot test it anymore on other lenses. Nor would I be interested to use it with my other Canon lenses, since they’re all shorter and I’m pretty much covered with anything up to 420mm by my Olympus lens setup.

I have asked Kipon China for more details about its initial statement, but so far haven’t heard anything back. I will update this post if I do get more information. UPDATE June 18: Kipon China said what I understand to mean that they’re testing the adapter with various lenses and that they will post more information on their website later.

Please comment on this post if your experience with this adapter differs from mine. Despite Kipon’s less than assuring answer, I might have had a faulty copy, so more user reviews are helpful.

For now, I can only advise people to not buy this adapter unless you have a good return policy so you can try it with the lenses you have and send it back if it fails like it did with my gear.

Better still, just wait until someone gets this product right.

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Comments

  1. That’s shame, lot’s of photographers would had benefited from this adapter.

    • John vR says:

      Thanks for sharing. I notice, though, that the 70-200mm f/4 IS is rated as compatible, while I had trouble with that lens. Then again, I will never find out if I had a bad copy or not. There are also threads on the usual sites where people share their experiences.

  2. I did email Kipon on the compatibility of M43 bodies for its adapter. They told me that the adapter works better with Panasonic bodies and not so well as with Olympus bodies. From your experience, probably that is true indeed. Send me a message on facebook to keep in touch.

  3. Antonius Lo says:

    I had same experience as yours.I tried it on Sigma 150-600 Contemporary, Canon L 24-105 f/4 and Canon 70-200 f/2.8 mk 2, it scared me so bad, causef it shook the image in the view finder crazily, that’s mean the sensor of the camera had been shaken badly.
    I sent it back for the refund. It’s really a piece of c

  4. Have you tested again with new kipon firmware, I haven’t found tests with that anywhere?

    • No, I don’t have the adapter anymore. Kipon emailed me a while back saying they have upgraded the adapter and that it works better now, but they haven’t responded to my request for a loaner copy to test it.

  5. Very disappointed with this adapter even after the latest firmware update released 8/2015. Seems to work a bit better with my Canon 85 f1.8. But that is the only lens that seems to work with well, but not in every shooting mode. Everything else either does not work or a lot of chromatic aberration. I kept it too long. Should have returned it long ago for the refund. Will make a good Chinese paper weight.

  6. To be clear, is the adapter you received the first generation electronic adapter or the second? The first generation adapter has “EOS-m4/3 E” engraved on it. Your title says “EOS”. The latest adapter has “EF-MFT AF” on it. Not sure if the first generation adapter provides AF, but I thought I’d double-check.

    • It’s the one that was supposed to offer AF. I don’t think the first generation ever made that promise.

      • Thank you, that does sound discouraging :( I wonder if the contacts needed to be cleaned on the adapter and lenses (not sure if you’ve tried that). I’d really like to go the Canon route, but it seems like it’s still safer to go the four thirds route for quality cheaper telephoto options.

        • A lot of people had similar complaints around the time I tested mine. Kipon might have improved the adapter since I wrote this article, but they have not sent me a loaner copy after I requested on and I’m not about to order another one.

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